“I think we should have more sexual education. Can you imagine if we didn’t have driver’s ed and people drove cars like they saw in the movies? Porn is adult entertainment, not education.”
""Hi," said Crowley, giving them a little wave. "Sorry I'm late, but you know how it is on the A40 at Denham, and then I tried to cut up towards Chorley Wood and then—" "Now we art all here," said Hastur meaningfully, "we must recount the Deeds of the Day."
"Yeah. Deeds," said Crowley, with the slightly guilty look of one who is attending church for the first time in years and has forgotten which bits you stand up for.
Hastur cleared his throat.
"I have tempted a priest," he said. "As he walked down the street and saw the pretty girls in the sun, I put Doubt into his mind. He would have been a saint, but within a decade we shall have him."
"Nice one," said Crowley, helpfully.
"I have corrupted a politician," said Ligur. "I let him think a tiny bribe would not hurt. Within a year we shall have him."
They both looked expectantly at Crowley, who gave them a big smile.
"You'll like this," he said.
His smile became even wider and more conspiratorial.
"I tied up every portable telephone system in Central London for forty-five minutes at lunchtime," he said.
There was silence, except for the distant swishing of cars.
"Yes?" said Hastur. "And then what?"
"Look, it wasn't easy," said Crowley.
"That's all?" said Ligur.
"And exactly what has that done to secure souls for our master?" said Hastur.
Crowley pulled himself together.
What could he tell them? That twenty thousand people got bloody furious? That you could hear the arteries clanging shut all across the city? And that then they went back and took it out on their secretaries or traffic wardens or whatever, and they took it out on other people? In all kinds of vindictive little ways which, and here was the good bit, they thought up themselves For the rest of the day. The pass-along effects were incalculable. Thousands and thousands of souls all got a faint patina of tarnish, and you hardly had to lift a finger.
But you couldn't tell that to demons like Hastur and Ligur. Fourteenth-century minds, the lot of them. Spending years picking away at one soul. Admittedly it was craftsmanship, but you had to think differently these days. Not big, but wide. With five billion people in the world you couldn't pick the buggers off one by one any more; you had to spread your effort. But demons like Ligur and Hastur wouldn't understand. They'd never have thought up Welsh-language television, for example. Or valueadded tax. Or Manchester.
He'd been particularly pleased with Manchester."
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford. "It is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"
"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"
"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."
Ford shrugged again.
"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."
"But that's terrible," said Arthur.
"Listen, bud," said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”